The term edge describes the line where an area or object ends. Accordingly, edge computing describes data processing at the boundaries of a network. Companies use their local computer resources, which are decentrally operated in the edge in their existing network infrastructure. Edge computing is also entitled fog computing or local cloud.
Cloud computing is the counterpart and describes a centralized model of data processing. Both, the IT infrastructure and the required services, such as maintaining the server, are outsourced to the cloud and centrally operated by a provider. Companies pay for these services and access them via internet.
The Smart Factory and its manufacturing IT also use edge computing. Here, edge computing means that data is mainly processed in the shop floor or its proximity. Edge computing guarantees that production continues even if the connection to the cloud is disrupted. A regular data exchange between edge and cloud ensures that manufacturing companies can respond to important changes in real time and run time-critical applications. Limited internet bandwidth to the cloud is another reason why edge computing is important in manufacturing. Edge computing helps to efficiently use this bandwidth.